HELP - Video quality from analog cam to DVD at

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Old November 20th, 2003, 12:59 PM   #1
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HELP - Video quality from analog cam to DVD

I am trying to transfer video from my old Analog camcorder to put it on DVD. I am using a Flyvideo 2000 capture card, sorry - I forget at the moment what the software it uses for capture, that captures to MPEG1 files. Then, I am using Sonic MYDVD to take the Meg1 file and convert it to a DVD. The problem - once the video is converted - it looks terrible - grainy and washed out - almost the quality of old 8mm films. What CAn I do to improve it ? Thanks in advance.
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Old November 20th, 2003, 01:33 PM   #2
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Maybe not the solution you're looking for, but with a standalone DVD recorder you can take direct composite or s-video input and record directly to the DVD without any intermediate steps. I have a Sony recorder, and there are a number of settings with which you can fine tune the quality of analog video input.
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Old November 20th, 2003, 01:34 PM   #3
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You're gonna have to use a better capture card - MPEG-I is not going to cut it, I'm afraid. Use a capture card that goes directly to MPEG-II at 720 x 480, or something that goes to DV. The Hollywood DV Bridge is prety good for this sort o fthing.
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Old November 20th, 2003, 02:00 PM   #4
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Ok so from what I am hearing here is that I am loosing the video quality from the conversion to and from MPEG1 since the video has to be converted into mpeg1 - then converted again into Mpeg2 in Sonic's software ?
Could I just use a different capture software with the Flyvideo2000 card that would go directly to mpeg2 ?

I was thinking about just buying the Panasonic PVDV53. But that doesn't have Analog passthrough. If I bought a camera like the pvdv953 with its analog passthrough - would that covert it directly to mpeg2 and preserve the analog video ? If so - that one could be a hard sell to the wife - but she also agreed that what I converted so far looked lousy - Boy - I would like that pvdv953 under the tree this year - but honestly - I'm searching for the cheaper solution right now with the flyvideo2000 or another capture card possibly.
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Old November 20th, 2003, 02:09 PM   #5
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Yep, mpeg-I is about 1/2 NTSC resolution -- 320-ish X 240-ish MPEG-I vs. 640 X 480 (or 720 X 480) NTSC. Obviously, when you expand 320x240 to try and fit a 640x480 screen, the results aren't pretty. MPEG-I really should only be used either for VCDs or for watching in a 320x240 window on a computer.

As a user of the Dazzle Hollywood DV Bridge, though, let me recommend that you *not* buy this product. I don't know what the company is like now that Pinnacle's bought them, but when I purchased the DV Bridge about a year ago Dazzle just plan sucked. There's a well-documented grounding problem in the DV Bridge that Dazzle repeatedly refused to acknowledge as a product fault (the problem causes the device to disappear from your computer randomly and can only be fixed by -- ta da -- creating a makeshift ground wire to connect the firewwire plug to the power plug. And they want to blame that on Microsoft?!)

I don't do too much digitizing, but now when I do, I'll typically use my Panny DVC80 camera for it. I still use the DV Bridge sometimes, but I prefer not to. If I ever have to do a lot of digitizing, I'll check out a different device and brand.

And I suggest you do the same. Canopus and ADS both make external firewire capture devices similar to the DV Bridge, from what I know.
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Old November 20th, 2003, 02:13 PM   #6
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What kind of video? Is it an old VHS tape? What kind of camcorder? I have transferred VHS tapes that were recorded by a horrible camera, and the quality problem was the tape and camera combination, not capture. Yes, you are going to loose quality with analog capture verses digital. If you are thinking about the PVDV53, then are you saying you want to plug your other camcorder into the DV53 and then capture???? Or, are you using mini DV and have a camera that doesn't have iLink capabilities, therefore necessitating the ananlog capture? You can save 50 bucks and go with a JVC D50 or D30 (I think it's D30). It has most of the same functions as the DV53 and will allow for iLink control.
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Old November 20th, 2003, 02:17 PM   #7
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I posted before I saw your reply, Don.

The problem, as I noted, is that MPEG-I is a lower resolution than NTSC video for television. The extra step of encoding to MPEG-II probably isn't helping matters, but that's not the main problem here.

A miniDV camera is going to capture DV, not MPEG. This would be preferable, though, especially if you plan on editing the footage at all. It results in bigger files, but if you have the disk space it's worth it. And if you don't have the disk space, well, why don't you? Them hard drive thingies are pretty cheap nowadays and darn easy to install! :) By the way -- if you plan on capturing DV and use Windows, make sure you are running 2000 or XP, since NTFS allows for larger files than the Windows 9x FAT 32 file system, which caps file sizes at 4GB (one hour of DV is about 13 GB)

An external DV capture device (a la the DV Bridge, etc) costs in the $200-$250 range, if I recall correctly. Over at one user used to rave about some $500 miniDV cam that did pass-through -- pass-through is when the camera allows for an analog signal to pass directly through the camera and get converted to DV on the fly w/out having to record the video to miniDV tape first. It's a preferable method of using a camera for A to D conversion since there is less wear on the heads.
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Old November 20th, 2003, 02:34 PM   #8
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John - that is what the Panny pvdv-953 will do - analog passthrough. Is that the cleanest method to convert Analog to Digital - then to DVD ? When you say that it converts it to Digital - what is the file extension that it saves it as on the Hard Drive ? AVI , MOV ? Would there be any degradation of the digital video footage that would take place when I would convert it from the digital video to MPEG2 on the DVD ? If so - then that kinda destroys the benifits of a higher-end camcorder like the pvdv953 if I plan on putting all my footage on DVD
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Old November 20th, 2003, 03:24 PM   #9
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At $1200.00 (B&H price), the pvdv-953 is much pricier than an external A to D converter. It's also approx. *twice* as much as buying your previously mentioned Panny DV-53 and an external firewire converter both (dv53 for $300-ish and a A to D converter for probably no more than $300). So don't buy the 953 *just* because it has pass-through.

The DV file format is typically either a dv .avi file on Windows or a dv quicktime file on Macs (.mov I guess, but don't quote me on that!).

If you plan on going straight to DVD w/ no editing, then capturing the video as MPEG-II will be fine. Just find a card that does it very well. But if you ever plan on editing the video that you capture, then it is preferable to capture it as DV.

There is degredation when converting any video to MPEG-II simply because MPEGII is a compression format. I don't think there'd be much of a noticable difference between going from analog to mpeg-II and going from analog to DV to mpeg-II. The key is to find a good software MPEG-II encoder to make your dv files into mpegII files.

It seems you have a lot of beginner questions -- one good resource for information about creating DVDs is at There are also a number of "Intro To..." articles on the web about the differences in file formats and capturing and whatnot. I'm no expert, and I'm happy to help where I can, but you might want to search and read through some online resources for beginners.

EDIT -- here's a direct URL to the guides on
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Old November 20th, 2003, 04:24 PM   #10
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If you have an analog capture card (the Flyvideo might be one) try using Virtualdub. It's free. Set it up to capture with the animation or huffyuv codec.

From there you should be able to use a DVD encoding program like TMPGENC (<$100, free trial) to encode a DVD. check as someone else here suggested. It has all the info you need on going between formats and encoding.
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